Stars and gripes: Vets furious over Clinton Hill post office’s tattered flags

Fired up: (From left) World War II vet Jack Vanasco, Rosa Figueroa, and Genaro Baez are among the locals demanding employees at a Clinton Hill post office replace the tattered American and Prisoner of War flags that have been decomposing outside the facility for months.
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These veterans are going to war — with their post office.

Postal workers must replace tattered American and Prisoner of War flags that have been decomposing outside of a Clinton Hill branch for months, according to a band of local vets who called the fraying banners a shame.

“The American flag is all ripped up and in pieces, and the POW flag has just disintegra­ted,” said 90-year-old Jack Vanasco, the youngest of five brothers from Kings County, four of whom served in World War II. “This is a disgrace for Brooklyn.”

The men’s crew includes other veterans and locals who regularly congregate on Myrtle Avenue between Kent Avenue and Taaffe Place, where Vanasco and his brother Roy famously ran an appliance-repair shop for 60 years across the street from the offending branch at 609 Myrtle Ave. The residents first noticed the ragged flags about three months ago, but post-office employees have since largely ignored the group’s requests to replace them, Vanasco said.

“They just let it go. They don’t care about the flags,” he said.

And the servicemen aren’t the only ones miffed by the pathetic patriotic display, according to the vet, who said passersby and even motorists stop to snap pictures of the deteriorating banners.

Vanasco reported the issue to employees at Downtown’s larger Cadman Plaza Post Office in addition to workers at his local branch, and even called the service’s headquarters in Washington, DC, but claimed his alerts spurred little action.

“They just took my name, that’s all,” he said. “But it’s getting worse and worse, and now the POW flag is just a hanging piece of tissue.”

When contacted by this newspaper, a postal service spokesman said that Myrtle Avenue branch employees logged the complaints about the banners and that the American and Prisoner of War flags are set to be replaced in the coming days.

“The United States Postal Service is proud to display the American and POW flags in front of our facilities,” said Xavier Hernandez. “It apologizes that the customer felt that staff was dismissive, and has confirmed that those flags should be replaced before the end of the week.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:07 pm, September 27, 2017: Following this article's publication on Wednesday morning, several locals informed the Brooklyn Paper that the tattered flags were removed, and Hernandez confirmed the postal service replaced them on Tuesday.
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Reasonable discourse

Benny from Park Slope says:
First of all, I agree. Those flags need to be replaced. They were a disgrace. Bravo to the vets who made it happen. However -- if people put as much energy into battling issues like poverty, racism, crime, and the rise of the ultra-right and white supremacists as they do into arguing for the replacement of shredded flags, this country might be in better shape than it is.

That said, kudos to the vets for taking direct action. Bravo! I just wonder if the USPS -- or the Brooklyn Paper -- would bother worrying about those disgracefully torn flags if civilians complained, instead of veterans.
Sept. 27, 2017, 8:46 am
Robert Perris from Community Board 2 says:
The flag has been replaced. Thanks to Jack and friends!
Sept. 27, 2017, 12:34 pm
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
That flag did look like it was sorry shape. I hope the replaced it with one made of a more durable material.
Sept. 27, 2017, 3:03 pm
Rory from Park Slope says:
I've made similar complaints about the flags at the USPS 9th Street station in Park Slope. Where is the management on this issue? Ridiculous.
Sept. 27, 2017, 8:28 pm
K. from ArKady says:
For my part, I have made numerous complaints about the condition of homeless vets I see on the streets every day. Those complaints are roundly ignored. Can you say, "Virtue Signaling", my precious right wing snowflakes? I thought you could!
Sept. 28, 2017, 12:31 pm
Matt from Greenpoint says:
You would think the vets would be more upset about their neighborhood being named after a common criminal and two time failed politician.
Sept. 28, 2017, 11:07 pm
Matt from Greenpoint says:
Thats right, its named after Benny Hill. Get over it losers.
Sept. 29, 2017, 2:50 pm
stop proud boys in from Greenpoint says:
Proud boys Play Book Exposed

Nazi Proud boy's Exposed ....

O.K. Nazi Scum Proud Boys... Let's, Let the Whole ANTI-NAZI World, Know who Your Really are in this Playbook.-LOL!

Well, you asked for it..
Oct. 24, 2017, 11:52 am

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